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Tipsheet

DOJ's Latest 'Smoking Gun' Just Makes Them Look Worse

Justice Department

In the ongoing saga of the FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago — one that was personally approved by Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland — the Department of Justice just can't stop stepping in the mess it created with its unprecedented search of Trump's Palm Beach home. 

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The latest filing from the Justice Department clocks in at 36 pages and is a new alleged "smoking gun" supposedly showing that Trump was obstructing justice in the matter of the documents he had at Mar-a-Lago. Along with the filing are 18 pages of attachments and exhibits, including a photo showing a collection of documents marked "secret" and "top secret" strewn across a floor. 

This "walls-are-closing-in" photo quickly made the rounds among the irredeemably biased never-Trump and mainstream media crowd who insisting "If the photo’s right, you must indict" tweeted the painfully bad-at-the internet Bill Kristol. 

Since there's so much seizing on the photo, let's take a closer look. 

At the edge of the evidence photo, a box filled with framed Time Magazine covers is visible. Are those top secret? Proof of obstruction? Proof that *this time* the walls are closing in?

Joining Fox News on Wednesday morning to respond, Jason Chaffetz asked "what in the world?"

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"The impression I got is that it was a public relations effort. This is not needed in a court document to make the case to the sitting judge," Chaffetz pointed out. "This was put out there knowing that they were going to go out there to the media."

Chaffetz is, of course, correct. The DOJ is losing the PR war over public perception of its decision to raid Mar-a-Lago and its ongoing case against Trump. Last week's redacted-beyond-recognition affidavit justifying the warrant used to search Trump's home only created more questions. And now, their latest court filing is seeking to hand never-Trump Twitter and the mainstream media a new shiny object to herald as proof that the raid was necessary to...recover issues of Time Magazine and supposedly classified documents.

Even the composition of the photo, Chaffetz noted, is suspect. "The idea that they spread them out across the floor and started taking pictures of them does not instill confidence," he said before alluding to the notion that the document covers saying top secret don't prove that the items contained within are classified or hadn't been declassified by Trump who held the ultimate power to do so. "This is not how we're supposed to administer justice in this country," Chaffetz added. 

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This isn't the first time the DOJ and FBI's attempts to spin things in their favor backfired. After Trump claimed the FBI took his passports during the search, alleged Justice Department sources told friendly media it had not — and then returned Trump's passports confirming what the former president had said and debunking media claims to the contrary.

The bottom line from the latest filing: no one knows what's within the "top secret" and "secret" document covers or their classification status at the time Trump brought them to Mar-a-Lago. The latest DOJ dump is a gift to opposition media and resistance Twitter and doesn't seem to actually prove anything in the Justice Department's case that was unknown before the raid. 

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